September got off to a busy start for the Passion4Social team as we took to the road in support of Social Enterprise week 2019.
Arguably the most important date in Scotland’s SE calendar, this annual event is an unrivalled opportunity for everyone involved in the sector to come together to network, share resources and highlight the impact ethical businesses are having on our local communities.
Passion4Social was at the hub of this year’s programme of free activities; appearing at venues across Glasgow, as we hosted our first ever mini roadshow.
In partnership with EY Foundation, NHS Credit Union, Queens’ Cross Housing Association and the University of Glasgow, we delivered 9 interactive events exploring the unique challenges of running a social enterprise.
Stand out moments from the roadshow
A definite highlight from our programme of events would have to be the seminar “How to be a successful social enterprise: balancing mission and profit”, which we hosted at the University of Glasgow at the beginning of the week.
Around 20 young people, with a vested interest in becoming Scotland’s future Social entrepreneurs, came along to hear our presentation on the challenges and pitfalls social enterprises face as they try to achieve the Holy Grail that is sustainability.
The topics covered included: funding, social investors, balancing mission and profit, the influence that external case studies have on your organisation, and how to go about creating lasting impact.
Speaking after the seminar, one young entrepreneur commented:
“I learned a lot about the possibilities of social enterprise, the factors involved in success, and how these might apply to my own venture.”
Another resounding success was our presentation and debate on the subject of “Employability, Diversity and Equal Opportunities”
The event opened with five short presentations from our panel of expert speakers on a range of topical themes: refugees & asylum seekers, homelessness, LGBT+, people with disabilities, how private companies see and manage diversity; to name just a few.
Then, as the discussion was opened up to the floor, experts and delegates first identified the physical, historical and attitudinal barriers which prohibit the UK from being a truly equal inclusive society.
The debate then moved on to the steps which should be taken to break them down; with particular attention being paid to improving employment opportunities for those people who are marginalised in the labour market.
Participants were so engaged and enthusiastic with their contributions that the event ran thirty minutes over its allotted time.
Speaking afterwards, one audience member said:
“This was a real eye-opener! Learning that what you see on the surface may not be all it seems to be. I loved the discussions and hearing others’ opinions.”
Handing over the hosting duties for a little while
Amid the craziness of SE week, the Passion4Social team took time out from playing host to attend the Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace, at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.
We were among the 85 Social Enterprises, exhibiting our product to hundreds of delegates and buyers from the public, private, and third sectors.
Although it is as yet unclear if we have secured any new business from the event; this was an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of our mission and the work we are doing to achieve it.
Reflecting on a successful day, Passion4Social’s Marketing Director Thiago Carmo said:
“We were able to interact with dozens of people. Many market players, as well as likeminded individuals who recognise that ethical business is the way to tackle the UK’s most pressing social and economic issues.”
Pause for thought
Having had a chance to reflect on our involvement in SE Week 2019, we have reached the conclusion that our efforts were, in the main, successful.
From social enterprises, to marketing, to diversity and disability in the workplace, we were there, sharing our experiences and knowledge with anyone who wanted to listen.
That said; we managed to engage with in excess of 100 people across the week.
Our programme of activities was a particular hit; with 70% of those who attended rating them 5/5 (and 30% rated 4/5) and 80% saying they would definitely recommend them to colleagues and friends.
However, in spite of these largely positive indications; we have learned valuable lessons going forward about the logistics of staging such an extensive programme of events.
We intend to reach out to even more of you next year and we have already begun implementing the strategies to ensure we do just that.
We are Passion4Social and we will be bringing diversity, inclusion, and warmth to Social Enterprise week 2020. See you there!